Brain Health Activities

Brain health encompasses cognitive, emotional, tactile, and motor functioning. While age-related changes and other illnesses may impact brain health, there are things we can do to reduce this risk.1

  • Physical Activity: Aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week.1 In addition to reducing the risk for cognitive decline,2 exercise can improve your mood and impact your risk for other health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.1 Tips: You may consider starting with shorter exercise intervals (such as 10 minutes!) and increasing over time. You also may consider combining socialization with your physical activity, such as asking a friend to join you for a w3 In addition to formal exercise, you can strive for an active lifestyle by choosing to park a little further from a building entrance or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.3
  • Education: Seek activities that keep your mind engaged.2 Involvement in the arts, such as music, theater, or writing, appears promising for impacting cognitive health, in addition to supporting quality of life and well-being.4 Is there anything that you have always wanted to learn more about? You might consider signing up for a class at a local community center2 or library.
  • Stop smoking: Quitting smoking can reduce the associated risks of cognitive decline to that of non-smokers.2 To receive support, education, and referrals for smoking cessation, contact 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-786-8669).5
  • Protect your brain from injury: Ensuring safety through the use of seatbelts, helmets, and fall prevention can reduce the risk for brain injuries that impact cognitive functioning.2 Falls are the number one cause of injury to older adults in the U.S. You may reduce your risk for falls by managing medication side effects (like dizziness), maintaining strength and balance, wearing proper footwear, keeping up to date on eye exams, and ensuring home safety (removing throw rugs, installing grab bars, etc.).6
  • Healthy eating: A healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk of physical as well as cognitive decline.1,2 In general, it is helpful to be mindful of portion size, get enough fluids, and reduce consumption of fat, sugar, and salt.1
  • Sleep hygiene: Lack of sleep can impact memory and cognition.2 Maintaining a consistent bed- and wake-time, as well as being mindful of the use of screens (computers or television), alcohol, and caffeine around bedtime can help to promote sleep hygiene.7
  • Manage stress: Anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions may influence cognitive functioning.2 Exercise, journaling, and relaxation techniques may help to combat stress.1 Seeking a therapist may offer additional support.
  • Socialization: Loneliness can increase the risk of cognitive impairment.1 Getting out with friends or family (meeting for coffee, visiting the local senior center, volunteering, etc.) can give you the opportunity to connect with others!



  1. Cognitive health and older adults. National Institute on Aging. October 1, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2023.
  2. 10 ways to love your brain. Alzheimer’s Association. 2023. Accessed June 5, 2023.
  3. Staying motivated to exercise: Tips for older adults. National Institute on Aging. April 3, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2023.
  4. Participating in the arts creates paths to healthy aging. National Institute on Aging. February 15, 2019. Accessed June 5, 2023.
  5. Quit smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 6, 2023. Accessed June 5, 2023.
  6. Take a stand on falls. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 22, 2017. Accessed June 5, 2023.
  7. Tips for better sleep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 13, 2022. Accessed June 5, 2023.
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